1. Bulk Water
The first way is through bulk water entry, such as rain or snow, or flooding from ground water.
A pitched roof over the home does most of the job, and if we put an impermeable roofing material on top, with each shingle overlapping the shingle below, all the way to the peak, we have a “watershed” moment!
But hold on! Now all that water is running off the roof, and is cascading down onto the ground right next to the house. This is making a muddy mess, and we’re in danger of flooding. This may also be causing damage and settling to the very foundation which our cube sits atop! However, do not fret; we have some moisture control solutions:
Gutters – to collect the roof runoff!
Downspouts – to drain that water down to the ground!
Downspout Extensions – to kick that moisture away from the house and into the yard!
Grading and drainage – to slope the dirt around the home to make sure that water runs away from the foundation!
Sump pumps – If moisture still comes in contact with our foundation, we can prevent our basement or crawlspace from flooding by installing a buried perimeter drain system, to collect that water, direct it to a sump pit, and install a sump pump to discharge the water!
This all works great. Is it a fool-proof way to keep the bulk-water out? At least for our simple cube. However, the problem is, nobody really wants to live in a cube these days. We want unique homes that are aesthetically pleasing, with several different angles, shapes, and changes in materials. This complicates things immensely. Now we have to apply our “one shingle over the other” theory to all of these oddly shaped areas.
We need to install flashings! What are they? Flashings come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the application, but typically they are comprised of sheet metal which has been shaped for a particular application, and installed to direct the flow of water away at a transition of materials or change of direction in the structure. Roofs meet sidewalls, and need flashing under the siding but over the roof. Kick-out flashing is needed at those tricky roof to sidewall to gutter junctions. Flashing is needed where siding rests atop brick or concrete, and flashing details are required over windows, doors, and over deck connections to the house.
Building code has developed requirements and best practices for moisture management, but unfortunately not all homes were built to today’s code standards, and even on new homes these details are easy to overlook. Add to this the possibility of poor workmanship, and the fact that many weekend warriors tackle projects that are out of their league, and you can imagine there are numerous ways for our “watershed” moment to end in failure.